To build a successful SaaS business, developing a comprehensive sales strategy is essential.
Selling SaaS requires a unique sales approach that convinces customers to commit – and stay loyal – to your product, especially considering the time required to integrate SaaS solutions into business systems and processes.
By implementing an effective SaaS sales strategy you can start turning leads into customers straight away. To help you with this, Founderpath can provide the capital your SaaS business needs to put that strategy into action.
What is SaaS Sales?
SaaS sales refers to the approach used to sell software-as-a-service products to customers – products that customers access via an online platform or portal, and usually pay for with a regular subscription fee.
As a result, selling this ‘on-demand’ software solution focuses on providing the greatest value to customers, whether they’re individuals, businesses or organizations.
Top SaaS Sales Models.
There are three major models used to sell SaaS products.
As one of the most common SaaS sales models, the transactional model is often used to sell mid-priced SaaS products. These usually provide solutions to problems experienced by small-to-medium businesses (SMBs).
Since the SaaS product is mid-range in price, transactional sales teams typically work to convince prospects to become customers directly – for example, via the phone – and offer great customer service throughout the business relationship.
However, it’s not as personalized an experience when compared with sales models used to sell high-value SaaS products.
An SaaS business that uses the transactional sales model is Stripe. As an online payment processing platform, Stripe allows businesses to receive payments securely from customers who shop at their online store, in return for a small fee for each transaction.
Bootstrapped SaaS businesses using Stripe can also get access to capital from Founderpath through their Stripe account. Read more here.
The self-serve sales model works well for businesses that sell low cost SaaS products at a high volume.
Rather than employing a sales strategy to persuade prospects to make a purchase, the self-serve model directs time and resources into marketing. The focus of this model is to increase awareness about the SaaS product and to post content that easily convinces customers of its value.
A great example of a business that uses a self-serve SaaS sales strategy is Airbnb: the online platform allows property owners to rent out spare rooms/entire accommodation to travellers.
By marketing their platform as an easy way for property owners to make money – and travellers to make use of affordable accommodation – Airbnb effortlessly entices customers to the platform, taking a cut of each booking.
The enterprise SaaS sales strategy targets a small number of prospects. SaaS products using this model are typically solutions for businesses with the budget to spend on solving their top problems.
As such, these SaaS products cost a lot – so, leads require time, resources and effort to be converted.
The enterprise sales strategy focuses on spending lots of time with prospects to convince them of the value of such a large financial commitment. Once these leads become customers, the level of customer service remains stellar to maximize customer retention.
HubSpot is a prime example of a business using the enterprise model to sell their SaaS product – a high-priced CRM for businesses that can facilitate everything from marketing to operations.
For bootstrapped SaaS businesses selling a pricey product, it can be difficult to get an enterprise SaaS sales strategy off the ground, because of the large initial cost of acquiring customers.
For these businesses, platforms such as Founderpath can be game-changing, by providing the capital they need to support their sales strategy, until they have enough customers to become profitable.
Why Sell SaaS?
More and more businesses are entering the SaaS market – here are the top 3 reasons why.
Less susceptible to piracy.
When selling SaaS, you don’t need to worry about your software being pirated, which cuts massively into profit – a key benefit over selling traditional downloadable software.
Instead, SaaS sellers control access to their online, cloud-hosted app, so that only paying customers can access and use the software.
Offers flexibility to customers.
After buying a traditional software or hardware (or even developing a solution themselves) businesses are making a permanent commitment to that software, when they may only need it for a certain period of time.
On the other hand, SaaS products are offered on more of a ‘pay as you need’ basis, which allows customers to cancel their subscription if they no longer have a use for the software.
SaaS selling is low maintenance.
Especially with less pricey SaaS products, customers can view SaaS providers’ sites at any moment of the day to buy a subscription.
This means you can earn new customers 24/7, as and when they learn about your product. Even if you’ve been employing a more hands-on SaaS sales strategy, easy access to your subscription model means that as soon as customers make a decision, they can make a purchase.
7 Steps to Develop Your SaaS Sales Strategy.
Before you try and get any eyes on your product, you first need to figure out who your customers are likely to be, so you can target the right people with your sales efforts.
It can be helpful to create ‘buyer personas’ to illustrate a complete picture of the type of person you’re selling to. You can use a buyer persona template like this to get you started.
Using these personas, you can set about trying to find individuals, businesses and organizations who fit the profile – and who are then likely to need your SaaS product.
2. Lead Generation.
Now that you know who your customers are, you can set about employing tactics to gather leads that have a need for your SaaS product.
Generating leads is all about heightening consumers’ interest in your product. Turning prospects who initially had no idea about your SaaS product into those who not only know about your product, but are interested to find out more.
The most effective way to capture leads is to acquire email addresses using mechanisms such as squeeze pages and web forms.
You can usually convince interested prospects to share their email address when they visit your website, perhaps by making it a requirement to access valuable content related to your SaaS product on the site.
From here, you can build an email list of leads that you know have an interest in your industry, field or specific SaaS product, who are likely to become your future customers.
3. Qualifying Sales Leads.
To figure out which of your leads are the most valuable from your site visitors, mailing list or trial subscribers, you can qualify your leads to save time, resources and maximize your conversion rate.
To accomplish this, you can use lead scoring tools, which analyze your leads’ behavior and identify which are the most likely to purchase your SaaS product and be converted into customers.
Alternatively, after gathering the contact details of your new leads, you can communicate with them directly via email, or other platforms that leads have been generated from. This allows you to ascertain their level of interest in purchasing your SaaS product.
4. Sales Demonstrations.
One of the most important components of the SaaS sales strategy is making sure potential customers are fully apprised of how the product works.
After all, leads are going to be hesitant to make a purchase – particularly for higher priced SaaS products – if they don’t know exactly what the product does.
Sales demonstrations also give leads the confidence that they need to get to grips with the product. This allows them to unlock the full value of your product, because they’ve been shown how to use it.
Not all of your leads are going to immediately make a purchase after you’ve implemented the first four steps of the SaaS sales strategy.
For customers who still aren’t 100% convinced by your SaaS product, it’s important to listen to their concerns. Alleviate them by explaining more about your product and draw attention to the benefits that provide solutions to their specific pain points.
6. Closing the Deal.
Now, your engaged leads should be in their most receptive state.
So, rather than leaving them to decide when to purchase your SaaS product, you should grasp the opportunity to encourage your leads to make a purchase right now.
Even after you’ve followed the above steps, ensure you give your leads your continued attention, and make their transition to using your product as smooth as possible.
7. Nurture Your Customers.
For SaaS businesses, the customers you already have are your most vital asset, since they effectively buy your product again and again via their subscription to your company.
This makes it crucial to keep existing customers satisfied, since this is even more profitable than converting tons of new leads.
With this in mind, make sure your customer service is stellar, and strive to provide value to your customers well after you’ve closed the deal, so that they continue to subscribe to your service.
Selling SaaS products requires a tailored approach that takes into account the unique characteristics of your software-as-a-service product and the needs of your target market.
By attracting and capturing the right leads, and showing them exactly what they have to gain from your product, you can use your SaaS sales strategy to convert multitudes of new customers while keeping current ones satisfied.
By partnering with Founderpath, you can quickly and affordably access the capital you need to fund your SaaS sales strategy. Plus, you gain access to metrics that can help guide your growth as a SaaS business. Click here to find out more.